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Intel shifts to platforms

Posted: 24 Aug 2005     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:processor  microprocessors  multiple cores 

In a move away from its focus on microprocessors,

Intel CEO Paul Otellini launched the company's

next-generation microprocessor architecture at the

opening day of the Intel Developer Forum Fall 2005.

Although not a jack-in-the-box event, the ceremony

marked what could be a milestone in Intel Corp.'s way

of doing business--focusing on platforms, rather than

processors, and on overall performance, rather than


Intel's strategy attacks the microprocessor issue at

two points: increasing processor performance by 10x

using multiple cores on one end, and decreasing power

consumption by 10x on the other--a necessity for new

and smaller consumer electronics form factors.

Next-gen architecture

Intel's next-generation microarchitecture combines a

higher-performance engine, advanced power capability,

multicore enhanced cache system and improved memory

access. It combines the features of Intel's existing

microarchitectures, such as those of NetBurst (bus and

64bit features) and Banias (power optimization), and

adds user-valued innovations.

Through the new platforms based on the new

microarchitecture, Intel hopes to extend user value by

improving performance and power efficiency.

In his first IDF appearance as CEO of Intel, Ottelini

presented the company's processor road map starting

with the 65nm dual-core Yonah mobile processor

scheduled for the first half of 2006, followed by the

lower-voltage mobile processor Merom for the second

half of next year. Yonah will be the brain behind

Intel's Napa mobile platform scheduled to be released

in the first half of 2006. The dual-core Presler for

the desktop and Dempsey for the server are also

scheduled for release in the first half of next year.

With power consumption increasingly becoming a problem

as processor speed is pumped up, Intel is pushing a

move away from GHz and into performance per watt. The

company's future microprocessors will use less and

less power reaching up to half a watt for small form

factors such as the concept device which it calls

"hand tops".

Power consumption has become a key issue in faster

microprocessors as smaller process geometries come

into play. One way to address this issue would be to

move to silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology.

However, Intel plans to stick to strained silicon

through at least four more generations. "We continue

to believe that we can deliver high performance

without the cost and complexity of SOI," said

Otellini. "We don't see a need to go into SOI [in the

near future]".

Dave Ledesma

Electronics Engineering Times- Asia

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